CIOs, It's Time To Get 'More Digital'

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jun 08, 2015


The pace of digital and the race to innovate has left many organizations lacking an enterprise-wide digital strategy and desperately seeking to acquire the right skills, finds a new study.

According to the Harvey Nash 2015 CIO Survey, despite efforts to close the skills gap, this year skills concerns are running one third higher than in 2013. The demand for big data analytic skills has leapt to the number one most-needed skill, skyrocketing to almost six times higher than the next-most-scarce skill, change management.

Two thirds (66 percent) of CIOs report digital disruption [change resulting from digital technologies that disrupt established business models] as a very significant change to their business, driving them to create new business models and bring new products and services to market faster than before.

Globally, large companies report being at a disadvantage when it comes to digital, with only 17 percent of them saying they believe they’ll do ‘much better’ than competitors in managing digital disruption, compared to 35 percent of small organizations. Only one in ten CIOs believe their organization will be unaffected by digital disruption in the coming years.

After receiving a record number of responses from nearly 4,000 IT leaders from more than 50 countries and capturing more than a quarter million data points, it is believed this is now the largest survey of IT leadership in the world.

“What’s most striking about the results is the speed of change. In the seventeen years we have conducted the survey we have never seen a new role grow so quickly as we have the Chief Digital Officer. We have never seen demand for a skill expand so quickly as we have for big data analytics.,” says Albert Ellis, CEO of Harvey Nash Group.

He adds As technology increasingly becomes focused on the customer, the IT, marketing and operations teams are increasingly working together in new ways. Sometimes it creates friction, uncertainty and skills challenges, but for a CIO with the influence, connections and technical ability to bring it all together, it’s an exciting place to be.”

Additional key findings from the Harvey Nash 2015 CIO Survey in association with KPMG include:

The Chief Digital Officer growing in prominence

The role of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) is growing in importance. Seventeen percent of CIOs now work with a CDO, up from only 7 percent last year. An additional five percent of respondents said they will hire will hire a CDO in the next several months.  The CDO role varies significantly with organisations. Where organisations have CDOs in place, only just under half (47 percent) have that person taking full leadership of the digital strategy, with the remaining organisations preferring the CIO, CMO or CEO to take the lead.

CIOs becoming more confident in the role they play in digital

Reversing a trend we charted in 2012-14, marketing departments that exclusively own digital is down to 24 percent, from 40 percent last year, said the report. Conversely, the number of IT departments that own digital is on the rise, up to 18 percent, almost doubling its influence from last year. There has also been a 7 percent jump in joint ownership between both marketing and IT.

CIOs are enjoying a stronger relationship with marketing this year, with 33 percent rating it ‘very strong’, up from 30 percent last year. Where the digital strategy is jointly owned by IT and marketing the relationship is strongest, with 41 percent of CIOs rating it ‘very strong’.

 Accessing skills from outside the organization

 Half (50 per cent) of CIOs report they are increasingly using outsourcers to supplement skills they can’t find in house; this compares to just 25 per cent of CIOs who are looking to their outsourcers to save them money, suggesting an evolving role for outsourcers.  In 2015, six out of seven CIOs will increase their outsourcing spend. Four in ten (41 percent) of CIOs plan to increase their investment in offshoring this year.

Top CIO operational priorities

Business intelligence and analytics made the biggest jump up the priority list compared to last year, with almost half (47 percent) setting it as a top priority.  Increasing efficiencies topped the list of CIOs’ operational priorities this year, at 61 percent.  Cost-cutting dropped in importance by 16 percent, compared to 2013.

Women in IT stalemate

The lack of women in IT has received significant media and political attention for several years, yet the proportion of women in IT leadership roles remains stagnant year after year.  Globally, the number of women in IT leadership positions - CIO, CTO or SVP title - is down 2 percent from 2013, reporting in at a mere 6 percent this year.

CIOs are satisfied

Despite the constant challenges, complexities and changes IT leaders face, job satisfaction is climbing towards historic highs - 80 percent at either ‘very’ or ‘quite’ fulfilled. The proportion of CIOs who plan to move jobs in the next 12 months is 12 percent, down from 17 percent in 2014.

Cyber security represents a very real threat

Globally, one in four CIOs (25 percent) reported their companies had to deal with major IT security incidents in the past 12 months.  Only 23 percent of respondents are “very well” prepared, down 6 percent from last year (29 percent).